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Dr Jane Manning OBE 


Jane Manning (soprano) was born in Norwich and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and in Switzerland with Frederick Husler. She has more than 45 years’ international experience in an exceptionally wide-ranging repertoire, and is especially celebrated world-wide as an indefatigable interpreter of new music. She has given more than 350 world premieres to date, and has worked closely with composers such as Bennett, Birtwistle, Cage, Lutyens, Knussen, and Weir.  Operatic roles created by her include that of Max in Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are (Brussels Opera). She gave the world premiere of John Cage’s Europera III at the Almeida Theatre and toured it throughout Europe. Judith Weir’s one-woman opera King Harald's Saga, written for her in 1979, has become a miniature classic. She continues to enjoy an active performing career with regular appearances in London and at leading Festivals. 

Jane's catalogue of CDs includes the major song cycles of Messiaen, all Satie’s vocal music, and works by, Berg, Dallapiccola, Ligeti and Schoenberg with conductors such as Boulez and Rattle, as well as many recordings of British music, several with her outstanding ensemble Jane's Minstrels, formed in 1988.

Her interpretation of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with which she made her broadcast debut in 1965 is still regarded as definitive, and she has now performed it over a hundred times with more than 20 different ensembles worldwide, including an historic performance with Barenboim, Du Pre, Zukerman and Mehta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, followed by the work’s premiere in Israel under Mehta. She has made three commercial CDs of it, including the re-discovered historic 1967 recording with the Vesuvius Ensemble. A recent performance with Sakari Oramo in Helsinki received a standing ovation.

Jane's book Voicing Pierrot, an exhaustive study of the work from the performance perspective, was published in 2012, and was short-listed for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. Her other books: New Vocal Repertory (An Introduction), and New Vocal Repertory 2, are published  by Oxford University Press, and a new two volume book on similar lines is now being planned. She also contributed chapters to Cambridge University Press’s History of Music Performance, and Faber & Faber's A Messiaen Companion.

She received the OBE in 1990, a Special Award from the Composers Guild of Gt. Britain in 1973, and holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of York  (1988) Keele ( 2004). Durham (2007) and Kingston ( 2011) She is a Fellow of both the Royal Academy and the Royal College of Music. She also acts on the Executive Committee of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and is Chairman of the Eye Music Trust. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, spent 6 years as Honorary Professor at Keele University, and was Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow, and, later, Visiting Professor at Kingston University.

Further afield, Jane has been Visiting Professor four times at Mills College, California, and has given lectures at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Columbia, Princeton and MIT. She has been Artist-in Residence at universities all over Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and given classes for singers and composers in Germany, Holland, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Croatia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong, South Korea and South Africa.

She is married to the composer Anthony Payne.

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